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Virgin Galactic Update

I got a solicitation call from Virgin Galactic after getting an email reminding me I registered and asking to confirm my phone number and a good time to call. They say they are about half way through their group of "Founders". The first 100 seats paying full price of $200,000. They are keeping two other queues. "Pioneers" are people who pay $100,000 and get to be one of the first 1,000 people in space on the whole planet. They project that will be 300-400 people depending on how many people their competitors and NASA put up into space in the mean time. Then they will start taking people who put down $20,000. All of these deposits are "refundable".

In any case, that is about $10 million in the bank from the Founders. They did say that they are using the money to develop the product. I will seek further clarification from Virgin Galactic on whether that is just the interest and the money is in escrow or what. If not, it would really be a player mutual sort of like the one I proposed about a year ago in The Space Review. I will aim to post terms and conditions when I receive them.

You get a seat number in your queue if you put up the money. Could someone with $320,000 please put that up so I can get an exact count on the number of seats with deposits in each queue? They project 500 riders in their first year. That's $100 million dollars. Pretty good revenue on a $100 million investment. That also means that the non-Founders and Pioneers will start flying no later than year 2.

If you don't have the money, you will be pleased to hear that their skill game partner is Virgin Games. More about that next week depending on what I am told and what kind of non-disclosure terms I have to agree to.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at July 01, 2005 11:19 AM
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Is this is the first LEO Ponsi Scheme?

People put up between $200MIL and $500MIL and Virgin Galactic invests it, in whatever. It makes 5 to 10 percent return on the money for the reservations. They send back the balance if they don't fly and they use the money in the mean time as a financial anchor for their venture. Either way, VG could make plenty and never leave the ground.

Wish I'd thought of it.

Posted by Steve at July 2, 2005 09:15 PM

That's not a Ponzi scheme.

Posted by Rand Simberg at July 3, 2005 06:34 AM

It's no less legitimate than funding the NCAA on deposits for their collegiate basketball tournament ticket lottery. People actually get something for their money (on average in the case of NCAA) if there's enough of them and they get their money back if not. It's collective action that may actually work with the Virgin brand attached.

The more interesting proposition is that it will actually work to fly people to space. I wish I had the wherewithal to pull it off last year when I thought of it.

BTW, it's suborbital, not LEO.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at July 5, 2005 04:12 AM

can anyone send to me the telephone number for reservations?

Posted by beth Ann at February 3, 2006 12:36 PM

No need to phone them beth Ann, visit galaxy32, they are giving away a seat on the Galactic to the winner of our treasure hunt. It's free to play!

Posted by dave dempsey at November 3, 2006 09:08 AM

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